Stress is an Attitude

Hello, friends!

It’s been a hot minute since I’ve word vomited my thoughts here, eh?

I’d like to blame that on an overwhelming amount of stress. I could go on and on about the 500 things on my to-do list but I’d rather not bore you to tears.

I don’t know about y’all, but when I get really really stressed, my mood tanks. I get irritable, defensive, and super sensitive (special apologies to my bf who puts up with these mood swings). This shift has been especially bad for the last two weeks as my first year of grad school comes down to finals week. Dun-dun-duuuun!

When I was sitting in my office at my internship, feeling pathetically sorry for myself, a quote I read awhile ago crossed my mind: “Stress is an attitude.” In that moment, the meaning of those words sunk in.

STRESS IS AN ATTITUDE

STRESS IS AN ATTITUDE.

Y’all, when that thought popped in my head, I laughed out loud – I don’t know if this was a reflex or a defense mechanism but I literally laughed and I could not stop.

People say (specifically, annoyingly optimistic people) that your thoughts determine your mood. Actually, there are entire psychological theories founded on this idea. You don’t have to subscribe to this idea – I’ll respect you if you don’t because it seems too good to be true, right? But it gives you the power over your mood again – so your mood’s not controlling you, you’re controlling your mood.

Challenge yourself to reframe your thoughts.

I’m so stressed,” can easily turn into, “I have a lot on my plate right now. How can I stay on top of everything?

I don’t have enough time to get everything done,” can become “How can I improve my time-management?

The end of spring inevitably brings a lot of stress into our lives with school years ending, summer planning beginning, and big transitions into the next season. You might be graduating, moving into your apartment, preparing for a traveling adventure. Whatever it is – don’t let stress rule over you!

Stress is an attitude and you have the power to change it.

De-stressed is best, y’all! Until next time.

XO,

Lain

20 Questions to Help Know Yourself Better

Happy Sunday, y’all!

 

I’m now in the midst of beginning applications for my final internship for grad school. It’s shocking to me how quickly this first year has flown by and here I am, with graduation only another short year away. Madness!

Anyways, as I fill out form after form after form and spend my free time crafting cover letters, my mind is constantly inundated with trying to answer prompts ranging from: “Tell us about yourself,” “What qualifications and skills do you bring to this position?” “Where do you see yourself in five years?”

I think we can all agree that these questions can be super freaking hard to answer.

Why is that? Why is talking about ourselves so hard?

After turning this idea over in my mind, I’ve come to two conclusions:

  1. We want to answer differently than everyone else.
  2. We don’t know the answers.

As humans (or maybe just as Americans), we have an innate tendency to want to be different, unique, special – like snowflakes.

Jokes aside, I think that a lot of us get tripped up because we don’t want to answer like everyone else – and that’s not a bad thing! To stand out amongst other applications, you want to show the interviewers that you bring something that they can’t get from someone else so naturally, you want to answer differently.

On the flip side, sometimes we just don’t know the answers.

In this case, some self-reflection can give you the insight you need. You can think of this as an interview with yourself to prepare for the interview with your potential future boss.

DISCLAIMER: I don’t think that you need to be applying for a new job to ask yourself these questions. Any time is the best time to try to know yourself better! Everyone can benefit from taking time to devote some brain power to answering these, even if it only unfolds a small nugget of wisdom.

bold 20 Questions To Help Know Yourself Better (1)

If you’re a journal nerd like me, you can turn this into a fun writing challenge to span out over a few weeks or you can simply use it as inspiration to generate answers to difficult interview/application questions.

Whatever tickles your fancy.

Without further ado, here are 20 questions you can ask yourself to get to know YOU better – your starting point to get re-acquainted with the unique person that you are:

  • What do I find myself doing when I’m not working, finishing homework, doing chores, etc?
  • What is something that helps me breathe a sigh of relief in the midst of a busy day or week?
  • When and where do I find myself being the most productive?
  • What have I been told by a teacher, boss, or coach that I am good at?
  • What is something that can almost immediately put me into a bad mood?
  • How do I get myself out of a bad mood?
  • At what time in my life was I the happiest I’ve been thus far?
  • What contributed to that point in time that made me so happy?
  • What, if anything, is different between then and now? What is the same?
  • What is something I did in my past that I still give myself a hard time for? Why?
  • When is a time that I can ‘let my hair down’ and feel relaxed?
  • How do I know when I’m stressed out?
  • Who do I admire or look up to? What characteristics do I admire them for?
  • If I could be living any kind of life right now, what kind of life would that be?
  • If I’m not living that life, what is holding me back from pursuing that lifestyle?
  • How do I show people that I care about them?
  • How do I know that others care about me?
  • What do I think it will take to get to where I want to be?
  • What is my definition of success? 
  • How do I know when I have been successful?

•••

I hope these questions helped you gain a little bit of personal insight as the weekend comes to a close. After all, no one else can be an expert on what makes you YOU.

Until next time, friends.

XO, Lain

The Counterintuitive Idea of Taking a Break From the Things You Love

Hello, all!

It’s Spring Break here in Texas and unlike the majority of Spring Breakers packing their bags for a week of debauchery and sunburns, I’m lounging in my PJ’s and preparing for a week of working with PMS-y teens, lots of dirt, and hours of swimming at camp.

I don’t know about you but spring time always infects me with MAJOR spring fever. Although this restlessness was significantly worse when I lived in the northern states – with the snow melting and nature blooming – that antsy feeling always seems to creep in around Spring Break time.

Like most folks, spring makes me want to do everything! I want to clean. I want to take on new hobbies. I want to fill up my free time doing all of my favorite things. This has sparked about 5,000 conversations between my boyfriend and I about our hopes, our goals, and our new endeavors we want to take on as the season changes.

Until one day, he suggested the completely ludicrous idea of taking a break from the things we love. 

I was totally thrown for a loop.

Here we were, talking for weeks about all of these things we loved to do and wanted to try and he was suggesting we take a break from them?

Naturally, I realized he was right after I thought about this idea a little further. (Don’t you hate it when your SO is right all the time?) But seriously, taking breaks from our passions and the things we love can be SO GOOD!

Let me share with you a few reasons why:

The Counterintuitive Idea of Taking a Break From the Things You Love

You can gain some clarity.

Taking a break from your callings can help you to get a clearer perspective on your goals and how you want to continue pursuing them. For me, an example of this is my blog – taking some time away from posting allows me the space to identify what want to get out of writing and where I’m trying to get to.

More specifically, it can challenge you to consider what your definition of success is. I’ve been thinking about this a lot lately – am I successful when I start posting every week? Or when I reach a certain number of followers? Or when I start promoting?

The most important thing to consider with this is what YOUR definition of success is. Like I’ve preached in almost all of my posts, everyone’s definition is going to vary, so make sure this one is about you!

New ideas and inspiration will come to you.

Not only will time away from your #things give you clarity, it will also bring new ideas and inspiration. If you’re into writing, a new plot development could find its way into your mind. Or if you’re into fitness, you could find yourself inspired by a different kind of workout that you hadn’t considered before.

These new ideas and bursts of inspiration will allow your passions to develop and transform into something they couldn’t have without taking a step back.

A break can help you to fall back in love with what you do.

Just as taking space can bring your clarity and novel inspiration, it can also help you to remember why you started and what you love about it. I saw this most clearly when I took a couple weeks off from bouldering and rock climbing. I eventually reached a point where I was SO excited to get back on the wall that I was literally bursting with joy when I laced up my shoes again.

This is an especially important reason to consider taking a break from your hobbies if you’ve been finding it challenging to do your thing. Instead of forcing it, take a break or focus on something else for awhile – you might find yourself itching with excitement to get back into it again.

It’s healthy.

The simplest and perhaps most important reason to take a break is that it’s good for you. If you’re into fitness, your body more than likely could use a little rest. If you’re into art, your hands could probably use a break from gripping those brushes and utensils. And whatever else you’re into, your mind could use a break from intense focus and stimulation.

•••

So if you’re not jet-setting off to a dream vacation this Spring Break, consider a staycation and taking a break from your hobbies and passions. Get in some R&R and heck, why not engage in some self-care?

Take care of yourselves and give yourself a break when you need it.

You’ll thank me later.

XO, Lain

DIY: Hydrating Hair Mask

Hello all + happy President’s Day!

I know that I’m a very vocal advocate of making time for self-care – who isn’t these days? But instead of droning on and on about all of the reasons why I think it’s so great and beneficial, I’m going to tell you about one of my go-to rituals.

In previous posts, I’ve briefly referenced my obsession with hair masks. Today, I want to share one of my recent favorites:

diy-hair-mask-eggs-coconut-oil-olive-oil

The reason I’ve been loving this mask lately is because the benefits are noticeable immediately after rinsing. That being said, you really do have to apply it consistently for a few weeks for the full effect.

After stumbling across this mask on Pinterest, I did a quick Google search to see if these common pantry ingredients are the real deal. Here’s what I found:



Egg yolks are hydrating, strengthening, and make hair shinier.

Livestrong posted a whole article about the amazing benefits of egg yolks for hair treatment:

“In her book Natural Healthy Hair, Mary Beth Janssen points out that eggs contain lecithin and protein, which helps strengthen and moisturize hair. Egg yolks are also a natural emulsifier, meaning the yolk binds homemade hair mask ingredients together for a smooth, homogeneous mixture. Egg yolk hair treatments make your hair softer, silkier and more manageable, and the added strength from the protein prevents breakage. Your hair will also have more volume and reflect light better, making it shinier.”



Coconut oil stimulates hair growth, adds luster and softness, and prevents breakage.

I’m sure you’re already familiar with coconut oil’s magic for hair care, being that it’s a staple in countless hair care products and remedies.

According to Wellness Mama, coconut oil is the richest natural source of medium chain fatty acids which contains antibacterial and antimicrobial properties that are very nourishing for the body.

While this oil has been said to have adverse effects on some hair types, these can easily be avoided when combined with other nourishing and restorative oils and ingredients. This is a case where the whole is definitely greater than the sum of its parts.


Olive oil has natural hair softening benefits and makes hair more manageable.

I was skeptical about this ingredient because I’ve never heard of it as a natural remedy for hair care. Upon doing some research, I stumbled across a wonderfully, informative article over at Good Health Academy – there, they detailed the benefits of olive oil, how to use it as a hair treatment, and the different kinds of olive oil that can lead to different results.

The bottom line: Olive oil is a long-standing natural hair treatment.

This ingredient will strengthen the hair from roots to tip while adding shine, body, and resilience!


Now that we’ve done our research, let’s get into the steps for treatment.

hairmask-1You’ll need:

  • 1 egg
  • 1 tbsp coconut oil
  • 1 tbsp olive oil

Crack the egg into a bowl and whisk, whisk, whisk.

Warm 1 tbsp of coconut oil and mix with egg yolk. Whisk, whisk, whisk.

Add 1 tbsp of olive oil to bowl and, you guessed it – whisk, whisk, whisk.

Massage mix into scalp to stimulate blood flow. Rub mixture from the roots to the ends of your hair.

Put on a shower cap (I used a plastic bag because I’m #cheap) to trap the heat. Leave on for at least 30 minutes.

Rinse with cold to lukewarm water.

Don’t rinse with warm or hot water because you WILL cook the egg in your hair. You’ve been warned.

Lather with a light shampoo and voila! Your hair will be voluminous and shiny.

•••

You know when they say, “Happy Wife, Happy Life?” I think the same goes for, “Happy Hair, Happy Life.” Not quite as catchy, but definitely true.

Make some time to treat yo’self and treat yo’hair this week!

XO,

Lain

Have you tried this natural hair mask? What are your go-to ingredients for hair care?

How to Use Your Weekend to Re-energize and Rejuvenate

Hello, friends!

It’s Saturday morning and I’m coming to you live from the comfort of my bed,  with coffee nearby, and the sound of my boyfriend playing video games in the distance.

Have you ever had one of those weeks that just sucked? That felt like my experience last week.

Instead of sitting in those bad feelings and ruminating on the not-so-great parts, I want to share some of my thoughts on how we can use our weekends to re-energize, rejuvenate, and refresh ourselves for the upcoming week.

how-to-use-your-weekend-to-re-energize-and-rejuvenate

Make time for yourself.

Are we surprised that I listed this one? I really, truly cannot stress this enough – make time for YOU. Weekends stacked of social events, obligations, activities, and homework are great, but they can deprive you of the opportunity to reflect on the past week and to re-center for the week ahead. Unfortunately, that can leave you feeling even more run-down and pessimistic during the week.

So make a point to sprinkle in a little bit of alone time in your days off – whether it’s your favorite self-care ritual, taking your dog for a walk, or reading for an hour in the morning. I’ve been reserving my weekend mornings for things like nourishing hair masks, painting my nails, and having non-guilty lounge time – I’ve gotta say, I’ve noticed a significant change in my mood on Monday morning after intentionally having that time for myself. Believe me, some solid alone time will help keep you grounded and refreshed for the coming week.

Make time for your people.

I know, I know, this seems contradictory. But just as too much social time can have some negative side effects, so can too much alone time. If you commit to too much alone time, you’re more likely to experience F.O.M.O (this is so real, y’all) and feel isolated or disconnected from those around you, especially if you had a shitty week leading up to your days off. Resist the urge to isolate, ruminate, and self-loathe (don’t worry, I’m guilty of this too) and embrace your snippet of freedom!

Near or far, make the effort to reach out and be present with your people. Go for a coffee date with an old friend, explore your city with a new friend, call your mom. Whatever it is, resist the urge to isolate yourself and maintain your connections – it’s a great way to get over the last week’s trials and head into the next week knowing that you’ve got the support of your loved ones on your side.

And honestly, spending time with your peeps just makes you feel good, doesn’t it?

Tidy up.

Wash your dishes, vacuum your floors, do your laundry, or re-organize your DVDs (does anyone even have DVDs anymore?). I’m a firm believer in the idea that literal cleaning helps you to feel mentally clean, or at least a little refreshed. I don’t know about you but when I get a significant amount of cleaning and tidying done, I feel PUMPED. It’s a combination of feeling productive and accomplished and more often than not, it helps me to feel motivated to keep going with that momentum during the week. An added bonus, cleaning on the weekend will likely save you from some extra chores during the week when you’ve got less time to spare.

If you want to read more about why I’m super into de-cluttering lately, click here to read my last post!

Remember: “No matter how dirty your past is, the future is still spotless.”

However you decide to spend your weekends, don’t forget that just because last week wasn’t great, doesn’t mean that next week will be the same. If you did have one of those weeks that just sucked, use the weekend to reflect on what went well and what needs some re-adjusting.

Monday morning brings a mini fresh start filled with new opportunities and a chance for amazing things to happen – a little reflection, re-adjustment, and shift in perspective can bring the change you’ve been hoping for.

Keep on keepin’ on, y’all.

Here’s to a refreshing and rejuvenating weekend, and an awesome upcoming week!

XO,

Lain

Why I’m De-Cluttering My Closet, Deleting Facebook, and Drinking Green Smoothies

Hellooooo, internet world!

I’ve been off the map for a few days for a number of reasons. I’ll list them in the order of most to least boring:

  1. Believe it or not, grad school takes up a lot of my free time.
  2. I found out I have gastroesophageal reflux disease.

Weren’t expecting that one, were ya?

Long story short, I’ve been hella busy with school and my stomach has decided to throw a temper tantrum every time I eat something. Jokes aside, it got to a point where I literally couldn’t eat anything and I became so fatigued that I didn’t do much more than drag myself to class and sleep. However, my boyfriend finally forced me to go to the doctor – and thank goodness he did because now I have a variety of stomach meds to take for a few weeks and a lighter dietary plan with foods that my stomach can tolerate. (Also big shout of to my doc! She was super nice, answered my endless list of questions, and commiserated with me about how much it sucks that I can’t eat sriracha and chocolate anymore).

So what the hell does my TMI stomach issues have to do with this post?

I’m so glad you asked.

The other day, I was sitting on the bus on my way to class and for the first time, I wasn’t reading or scrolling on my phone. I was just sitting, looking out the window, and people watching the other bus-goers, when I had a moment of clarity – like one 32a7752596e098da3bd2aaeeb617ae77of those ones you see in the movies – where I recognized that I was so overwhelmed with how content I felt. It had been so long since I let myself sit without my eyes being glued to something, in no hurry, just soaking in the moment. It was liberating.

This got me thinking more about minimalism, a topic that sparked my interest towards the end of last year. Coincidentally (or maybe not so much), one of my goals for 2017 was to turn all of my hangers around in my closet to see which clothes I actually wear in a month. Have I done that yet? Nope. My closet is still overstocked with clothes that I say I’ll wear eventually but never do.

And all of THAT got me thinking about social media and how we’re always plugged in and how our feeds are so clogged and cluttered with everyone else’s bullshit and I began wondering: Why do we do this to ourselves?

Why do we buy so many trendy clothes that we know we’re not going to wear in 2 months because by then they’ll be out of style? Why do we scroll through feeds of posts from people who are our ‘friends’ online but we don’t sustain a connection with outside of the digital realm? Why do we always need stimulation and want more, more, more? I could go down the rabbit hole trying to answer any of these questions but I’ll leave that to the minimalist experts over at TheMinimalists.com (seriously, check them out, they have a great podcast and a very informative documentary on Netflix).

Now, I’d be lying if I said I’m going to delete all of my apps, throw out all of my stuff, move into a tiny house, and live life with the bare necessities.

I’m a baby steps kinda’ girl.

decluttering

I started with deleting Facebook. Lately, my feed has been feeling like Austin traffic at 5pm on I-35: frustratingly clogged, usually purposeless, with lots of angry people who don’t give a shit about anyone around them. (If you do choose to delete FB, remember to unlink all of your other apps from it first! I figured that out the hard way).

And I’m not trying to say that there’s anything wrong with wanting to keep your Facebook. Like I’ve mantra’ed in most of my posts, making lifestyle changes are all about YOU. Maybe you’re more into the idea of a week-long social media cleanse. Or combing through your email subscriptions to de-clutter your inbox. There are endless ways to revitalize your feeds!

Next, I tackled my closet and turned all of my hangers the opposite way. In one month, I’m going to see what I actually wore by seeing which hangers are turned back around and donate the rest. From what I’ve read, there’s some awesome benefits to de-cluttering your wardrobe: you eliminate stress, save time from having less to choose from, and become a more conscious consumer. Nice, right?

And as I mentioned earlier, I’m ‘de-cluttering’ my diet. This one isn’t really by choice but deciding to spread this theme to other parts of my life has made it easier to digest (ha, food puns)! Adopting a conscious, healthful diet has so many benefits I can’t even begin to list them here – don’t believe me? Read this.

Again, don’t feel compelled to make a drastic change and commit to a vegan lifestyle or go on a crash diet. You could try a Whole30 challenge or opt for a smoothie instead of chips as a snack. Remember, it’s all about YOU and what works for you and the lifestyle you want to lead. Feel free to peruse my food board if you’re looking for some foodspiration!

I know this is a long-winded post but if you made it this far, thanks for reading! Stay healthy, stay mindful, and stay positive, friends.

XO, Lain

Have you tried ascribing to the minimalist lifestyle? How do you like to de-clutter your life?

5 Reasons Why Having A Night Routine Is Actually Worth It

Hello, friends!

It’s been a hot minute since I’ve had time to sit down and write but here I am, thoughts a-flowin’.

Every few days or so, I’ve been attempting to tackle one new goal on my list of goals for 2017. Trying to create new habits and adapt to a healthier lifestyle hasn’t come without difficulty but it has come with some noticeable positive impacts in my day-to-day life. I could go on fer dayz about all of the details on what I’ve been changin’ up but today, I want to focus on one specific routine that I think has made the most significant impact on my mood, productivity, and overall flow of my days.

That is, my night-time routine.

Seriously, I credit the majority of the positivity I’ve been feeling lately to my delicately curated pre-bedtime, post 8:00 p.m. routine.

I don’t know about y’all, but I am a list-lover. I make them anytime, anywhere, and for everything. So, naturally, when I set out to create a night routine, I started by making a list.

I used Google Keep (my go-to list app) and set it as a re-occurring list to go off every night at the same time. The main reason I chose this route was so that I had a concrete reminder to stop whatever I was doing to devote my mind, body, and soul towards getting into maximum relaxation mode.

Everyone’s lists are going to be made up of different things but I think that’s half of the fun – take the time to recognize the things that make you feel relaxed and rejuvenated. Maybe it’s reading a romance novel, or soaking in a bath, or snuggling up to watch Netflix with bae. Whatever it is, make sure you choose the things that you enjoy. That’s when you’ll really reap the benefits!

 

night-routine

1. Establishing routines can get rid of anxiety.

For me, this was one of the most significant benefits. I’m an anxious person by nature so if I hear about anything that will mitigate those feelings, I’m on board. By setting a routine, you not only have something to look forward to but you also have something to expect. You’ve brainstormed, you’ve planned a set of activities set to chill you out, and you can come home ready to ease into relaxation. One less thing to worry about!

2. You might finally become a morning person.

For real, you might. I added little tasks to my routine like ‘set out outfit for tomorrow,’ ‘pack lunch,’ and ‘blend smoothie’ which made me feel more prepared for the following day than I have probably ever felt in my young adult life. By completing these minor tasks before going to bed, I had way less stress (and more time to lounge with my coffee) in the morning. In turn, I’ve been waking up with so much more love for my mornings because I can actually enjoy them! (Instead of running around with my hair in a towel, trying on 15 different outfits, and messily blending a smoothie all at once).

3. It’ll take some stress off your plate.

This is one of my rare attempts at adulting. But seriously, I added ‘complete one nagging chore’ to my routine and it has done wonders for my stress levels. Taking stress off your plate may be finally calling your parents back, managing your finances, or finishing your midterm paper – whatever it is, dedicating a bit of time to those not-so-fun tasks at night can take off a huuuge amount of stress off of tomorrow. Or it might only take off a little bit. Either way, you’ll have less stress and that sounds pretty good to me!

4. It’s sneaky “self-care” time.

Establishing a night routine is the perfect opportunity to schedule some self-care into your day. I purposefully added self-care activities to my list because I know that I typically don’t have time to spare during the day. By adding it to my routine, self-care has become a regular aspect of my daily life. In turn, giving myself time to #treatmyself has become a more regular and manageable priority.

5. Sleep will come easier.

A fresh mind is a sleepy mind once it hits the pillow. By taking the time to check a few things off your to-do list and take care of yourself, you’ll go to bed feeling accomplished and ready to recharge your batteries. If anything, you’ll at least wear yourself out a little bit by completing the things on your list!

Stay restful!

XO, Lain

What does your go-to night routine look like?